The moral emotions of guilt and shame appear when the self is exposed to both one’s own and others’ observations and is valued on the basis of some personal and social models (Bybee, 1998; Ferguson, Stegge, Miller, & Olsen, 1999; Lewis, 1992; Tangney & Fischer, 1995). More speciﬁcally, guilt is often elicited when someone damages another person, takes the responsibility for his/her action and wishes to apologize or repair (Barrett, Zahn-Waxler, & Cole, 1993; Bybee, 1998). In contrast, shame involves the feeling that the whole self is a failure or is bad, which leads to withdrawal and avoidance (Bybee, 1998; Mills, 2003). We aimed to test whether shame and guilt present differences in preschool children, detecting those behaviours characterizing each of them. We expected shame to be characterized by bodily tension, reticence, avoidance and negative
self-evaluations (Mills, 2003) and guilt to be characterized by confession of the damage, and by attempt and immediacy to repair it (Barrett et al., 1993).